Stressed out: Does exercise actually help?

Stressed out: Does exercise actually help?

Health & Fitness Blog

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We are all juggling a lot of balls these days.

With work, life, family, friends, health and travel in an increasingly busy world. It’s no wonder getting through each day (especially in this heat!) can feel like a bit of a battle at times.

Unwanted stress can build up, and often we are looking for ways to find that bit of calm.

Exercise is another popular option for managing stress, but is it a good idea?

The short depends!

Did you know exercise is classified as a stressor?

Although a positive stress, movement and exercise increase our heart rate, breathing rate, core temperature and gets our blood pumping. Compare these responses to what you feel when you are really concerned about something, and hopefully you can see the similarities.

Prolonged periods of stress (be it mental or otherwise) has been shown to compromise our health. Our immune system, sleep quality and overall wellbeing can be affected when our body is under continuous pressure. Therefore, being mindful of how much and the type of exercise you are choosing to do on a daily/weekly basis can potentially help you manage the stress on your body.

So if you are craving a workout after a particularly stressful day, what is the best option?

Typically, my advice to clients is to go for a moderate to low intensity option. Swimming, a long walk, or a gentle strength session will still offer you many health benefits without adding a significant amount of stress to your system.

However, some people will find that the best way to burn off some bottled up stress is by sweating it up and getting involved in a higher intensity session. This too is ok, if you find it works for you and you are mindful of giving your body adequate recovery from the session.

What do you think? If you’re worked up, does a gentle swim or a yoga session hit the spot? Or does a sweaty run or boxing session do It for you? 

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